Located in Logan County, the Family Resource Center is dedicated to encouraging the development of healthy children and strong family units by providing support systems, education, and referral services.
March of 2006: Family Resource Center was founded by a child welfare caseworker who provided services on nights and weekends. A planning and implementation grant was secured for a supervised visitation program, a steering committee was formed, non-profit status was established, and services were offered using borrowed space in a church.
2007: parenting classes for fathers began in response to needs observed while providing supervised parenting time.
2008: an open group for fathers of children under age 5 was established and met twice a month.
2009: parenting classes expanded to educate both fathers and mothers. A mentor program was created to respond to school performance issues, truancy, and delinquent behavior in the community's young people. The program, Game Plan for Success, supports youth, promotes adult volunteerism, and mobilizes and nurtures leadership skills within the mentors and youth. In the same year, a local philanthropist became interested in our work. We received a generous gift that was invested to secure the future of FRC by providing an annual income that fills gaps in funding for our programs. We moved into an office located on the main street of our community and on a thoroughfare between the east and west business areas of the community. This highly visible office space has made it possible to advertise our services and fundraisers with a sandwich sign in front of the office. The size of the interior of the office opened possibilities to add staff, to conduct larger parenting classes, to conduct community trainings and informational meetings, and to accommodate free child care for 12-15 children. We added a parenting class for grandparents raising grandchildren and one for parents of preschoolers. We also conduct the parents of preschoolers parenting class at a local preschool, with the preschool teachers as child care providers.
2010: we added meals and child care, as a support to parenting classes. Attendance and retention improved dramatically. Enrollment in our parenting classes averages 25 adults and 15 children.
2011: we look back over the history of our mentor program and count over 30 youth have been paired with mentors. When current 8th graders were told about the program, 55 youth out of a class of approximately 160 expressed an interest in entering the program in the fall of 2011. An extensive data base of resource information has been created and is managed by volunteers. The data base is updated periodically and disseminated to all employees to assist them when making referrals. In 2011 Family Resource Center received approximately 2900 phone calls regarding services or referral information and a like number of e-mails. The City Council of Sterling allocated funds for the first time to support our mentor program.
2014: we added a new program called Clean Slate to address the need for support to those addicted to drugs and alcohol. We took this program on because of the high rate of drug use in our community. There were 40-50 on-going cases within DHS involving drug use. Of those cases, 80% were drug-related. 60% of those drug-related cases were attributed to methamphetamine use, and 20% are attributed to pharmaceutical abuse.
2015: Game Plan for Success transitioned from a mentoring program to a youth club model. Wyman Teen Outreach Program and Smart Girls/Guys groups met twice a week in the evenings with enrollment of 31 youth. Also added was a free Summer Club for junior high and high school students. FRC began offering the Colorado Community Response Program to families referred to Social Services. This strength-based case management approach offers rent assistance, monetary assistance with car repairs, education expenses, and financial literacy/budgeting counseling.
2017/18: ASSET Club began operating. This is a free, all-day Monday program for school-aged children who have no where to go on days our local school district is not in session since going to a 4-day school week. We began offering free baby Boxes to expectant mothers as a way to ensure all babies have a safe sleeping space. Free GED Prep/Financial Literacy classes are being offered 4 days a week. Child care is being provided to parents who have jury duty or court business at The Justice Center as a way to protect children from court proceedings.
Ten years ago it was common to hear "What is the Family Resource Center and what do you do?" Over time, Family Resource Center has been embraced by the local media outlets, service organizations, other non-profits, and government agencies. As a result, newspapers publish regular news articles about our work, we have a monthly spot on local radio shows, churches provide meals for some of our parenting classes, we have been the beneficiary of fundraisers conducted by churches and other community organizations, and we have held a number of successful fundraisers in the community. In 2011 the City Council of Sterling allocated funds for the first time to support our mentor program.
One of the young women in our Game Plan for Success program assisted our staff to make a presentation about the program to junior high school students who are prospective participants for next school year. She has become involved in extracurricular activities and is beginning to define a vision for her future as a result of her participation in our youth club.
The sophomores, juniors and seniors in our GPFS program presented to middle school students about the dangers of drugs. In this way they are assuming leadership roles and giving back to the community. They also conduct Cyber Days for senior citizens as a way to educate the senior citizens of Logan County on technology devices.
One of the fathers who visits his preschool age, autistic child, travels from another part of the state about once a month. He says, without this our visitation program, Hand in Hand, he would have no opportunity to develop a relationship with his child. He has become much less critical of the child's mother as he sees that his child is developing well. He has arranged to meet with a special education representative during one of his visits to learn more about the special needs of his child. He has moved from being rather guarded to openly express hugging and expressing his love for his child.
Family Resource Center has progressed from offering one quarterly parenting class for fathers and a bi-weekly support group in 2009 to offering nine parenting classes per year. We have enrolled, not only the residential parents, but also the non-residential parents of the same children. We have educated preschool teachers, foster parents, grandparents, and biological parents. Parents are now enrolling months in advance of the beginning of classes and we have had to create wait lists for classes due to their popularity. We provide meals and child care to support the classes. Five churches donate meals to help with the cost and to connect churches with community service. We have parents who enrolled in multiple classes. Our class for parents of preschoolers is held at the preschool, with preschool teachers as child care providers. One of the parents reported that he completely stopped spanking when he began the class and gave the other members a testimonial about the positive effect it had on his relationship with his children. He and his wife have subsequently enrolled in another class and given the same testimonial to that class as well.